Why You Should Marry Someone Who Loves Their Dad

While it's common practice to mock or make light of "daddy issues," more people need to stop and more deeply consider why a passive or painful relationship with one's father can cause so much emotional damage.

By Carmen Schober3 min read
Pexels/Hussein Altameemi

Tucker Carlson sparked intense debate in the comment section of a recent interview when he shared that he thinks it's important for men to marry women who love their fathers because they tend to be more secure in other relationships and less "triggered" in general.

Many strongly agreed with his observation while others said he was overgeneralizing and "punishing" women for something they can't control.

The Research is Clear

When it comes to studies, however, there's no "debate" around the subject. From birth, children with involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, have more confidence, develop healthier social connections throughout their lives, and experience greater life satisfaction overall.

That said, it is important to note that a father's relationship with their child is directly correlated with his relationship with the child's mother, which means it's not enough for fathers to simply invest in their children and neglect the woman in their life. When fathers nurture their relationship with the mothers of their children, all parties experience more happiness overall.

Alternatively, the negative effects of poor father-child relationships are also well-documented, with many of these children forming an insecure attachment which causes them to approach relationships with high anxiety and low confidence. Interestingly, insecure attachment with mothers doesn't have the same correlation.

It's also important to note that involved, caring fathers are vastly more prevalent in the context of marriage. It's well-documented that families with married parents create a better environment for child-rearing, compared to unmarried, cohabiting parents. Committed love is the main reason for this, combined with the religious and legal norms within marriage that can help motivate fathers to remain dedicated to their families when they're tempted to act against the best interests of their family.

There are even more benefits of children having a close relationship with their father, such as better academic performance, a higher likelihood of going to college, and a stronger chance of finding satisfying employment after high school, but the most compelling benefits can be found in the child's psychological well-being and social behaviors.

For example, studies have shown that the presence of an active, loving father often helps children become more sociable with others in early childhood and curb antisocial behaviors. One reason for this is that fathers tend to spend time teaching their children to explore their surroundings, test their limits, compete fairly, and rough-house, which has been shown to help children express and regulate aggressive impulses in a safe environment. For these reasons, these children grow up more likely to demonstrate self-control and positive social behaviors.

And if that wasn't enough evidence of the incredible impact a loving father can make, it's also been revealed that children who have strong relationships with their dads are less likely to experience depression and are more likely to be physically and emotionally healthy, and avoid drugs.

With that in mind, it's pretty obvious why Carlson advised people to pay attention to a person's relationship with their father because that relationship does play a key role in so many different areas of their personality. However, beyond the "who-should-I-marry" conversation, the reasoning behind his suggestion should also compel more men to aspire to be the best husbands and fathers they can possibly be because the long-term result of their efforts will likely be amazing.

The Father-Daughter Relationship

Particularly when it comes to daughters, the dynamic between fathers and mothers will be a major factor in what kind of romantic relationship the daughter will pursue. Girls with involved, supportive fathers tend to develop healthy standards of how they ought to be treated by men, whereas when fathers hold anger towards women or give them the “silent treatment,” their daughters are much more likely to have anxious or withdrawn.

On this topic, "daddy issues" are more frequently discussed in the context of father-daughter relationships. We especially hear young women labeled as having “daddy issues” if they find themselves in unhealthy romantic relationships or dating significantly older men. While most research has focused on the effect of fathers on the psychological development of children more broadly, some have specifically explored the role of fathers in raising daughters. 

One study found that fathers who expressed interest and participated in their daughters’ lives had daughters with greater self-esteem and higher levels of academic achievement. Another study found that higher-quality fathering decreased daughters’ engagement in risky sexual behavior, by increasing the amount of parental monitoring they received and decreasing their affiliation with peers who promoted risky sexual behaviors.

Fathers also shape their daughter’s expectations of men in adulthood. Girls who receive lower-quality paternal investment develop lower expectations for their male partners and tend to have higher numbers of sexual partners. Additionally, women who experience absent, harsh, or deviant fathering perceive greater sexual interest among men. Dr. Danielle DelPriore suggests this psychological change could “increase a woman’s likelihood of engaging in unrestricted or risky sexual behavior in response to growing up with a disengaged father.”

But, as we can see from numerous studies, a father's impact is deeply felt by both women and men, and both sexes benefit greatly from a society that encourages men to embrace the responsibility of fatherhood.

Closing Thoughts

As Carlson stated, deep security forms in children when they know their fathers love them. Carlson has stated in other interviews that he's sympathetic towards those who suffered from uninvolved parents since he was raised by a single father after he and his brother were abandoned by his unstable, narcissistic mother. He also added that his mother's abandonment helped motivate him to be a loving husband and devoted father to his son and daughters.

The main takeaway is that marriages are meant to last and fathers should be present and caring. It hurts all parties when that doesn't happen, but as Carlson's story proves, anyone can create a different future for themselves and the family they want to have.

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